One of my favorite things to do as a sports fan is to hear analysts and fans say they were wrong after a prediction gone bad. Unfortunately it doesn't happen all the time but I'm here to stand by what I said earlier this past week leading up to both of the NFC Divisional games.
Originally I said the Green Bay Packers would beat the Atlanta Falcons and the Seahawks would beat the Bears creating a NFC Championship game in Seattle.
A place which hosts a team that entered the playoffs with a losing record of 7-9.
I came up with 10 stats that would help my argument.
Let's see where I went wrong in the order I posted them in my previous article.
"Since coming off the bye in Week 10, Rodgers has a passer rating of 114 or better in five of the past six games he's started including in Atlanta..."
Rodgers was simply amazing last night.
31 of 36 for 366 yards, three touchdowns and no picks for a pass rating of 136.8.
This was the sixth time in his past eight games that Rodgers has had a rating of 122 or better.
"Through Week 13, Jay Cutler had thrown just 10 interceptions to his 17 touchdowns. In the final four regular-season games, Cutler threw six interceptions equal to only six touchdowns."
I was hoping and predicting that with this being Jay Cutler's first postseason game since high school, he would revert back to his gunslinger mentality and make mistakes and turn the ball over.
The trends said he was on that path.
Yesterday though, Cutler was poised and smart.
Not only did he post a 111 passer rating by throwing two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for a season high 43 yards on a season high eight rushing attempts, which led to two score.
"Atlanta only rushed for over 100 yards collectively once in their final five games."
Collectively, the Falcons only ran for 45 yards on 14 carries.
Michael Turner led the non-existent rushing attack with 39 yards on 10 carries.
Falcons fans will probably say that because of the big deficit, the run game took a backseat in the offensive game plan.There's probably some truth to that.
At the end of the first quarter, with Atlanta leading 7-0, Turner had 25 yards on six carries including a 12 yard touchdown run.
I'm not saying Michael Turner played bad, but Atlanta lost their running attack due to other elements allowing the run game to disappear.
"Matt Hasselbeck has played against eight different non-NFC West opponents five times or more in his career. Of those eight teams, Hasselbeck has thrown for more yards against the Bears than any other but one."
Matt Hasselbeck, overall, I thought played pretty well.
The numbers say he played great.
258 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions for a rating of 94.3.
Had you told me those would be his numbers before the game started, I would've taken it, and you would've too.
All his damage was done in the fourth quarter when the Seahawks found themselves down 28-0. Hasselbeck's fourth quarter numbers: 13-20 for 165 and three touchdowns.
Needless to say, he basically did nothing the first three quarters.
And that wasn't all his fault, but more on that later.
"The Packers run game has come alive, as they've rushed for over 100 yards in four of their past six games—a feat they only accomplished three times in their first 11 games."
This was my only stat that didn't stay true during the Packer/Falcon game.
James Starks did not duplicate his performance against Philadelphia from a week earlier and ran for only 66 yards on 25 carries.
Luckily for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers and defensive back Tramon Williams picked up the slack and put points on the board using their own skills sets.
"Despite the Bears having four more victories than Seattle in the regular season, the Seahawks actually amassed more total yards."
This was my worst stat.
The Bears put up 437 total yards of offense, their most since Week one against the Detroit Lions.
After rushing the ball for just 61 yards against the Seahawks back in Week six of the regular season, they racked up 176 yards on 45 rushing attempts on Sunday and helping them win the time of possession battle by almost 15 minutes.
"Atlanta only played one team with a winning record in their final four games....Green Bay's last four games including last Sunday against Philadelphia were all against opponents with at least 10 wins during the season."
That's not really a statistic of any kind but let's just say it kept the Packers on top of their game mentally by having to play tough opponents and the Falcons were hurt by playing patsies.
"Jon Ryan is having his best year statistically when it comes to percentage of punts downed inside the 20 yard line. And over the past two games, seven of his 11 punts have been downed inside the 20."
Having watched the entire game, I don't think Hester was much of a factor in the return game.
He had two return attempts, but only totaled 30 yards out of them, one of which came off a 26 yard return resulting in Jon Ryan forcing him out of bounds at midfield.
On this day, no field position was going to matter as the Bears did whatever they wanted offensively.
"The Green Bay defense allows a league low passer rating of 67.2 to opposing quarterbacks."
Matt Ryan posted a rating of 69.0 with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Ryan's biggest mistake, by far, came at the end of the first half when he tried to find Roddy White near the sideline.
Matty Ice's misstep led to an interception by Tramon Williams, who returned it for a 70 yard touchdown.
"Six of the last seven games for the Seahawks have seen a different receiver or tight end be the leader in receiving yardage."
This was brutal.
I don't know who makes the decision on whether or not an incompletion is ruled a dropped ball, but near the end of the game, FOX flashed on the screen that Seattle had dropped four balls to that point.
I have to believe there were more than that.
Most noticeably in the first couple drives of the game for the Seahawks. The dropped balls stalled drives, and the Bears capitalized.
Matt Hasselbeck targeted Mike Williams 13 times, but thanks to great defense by the Bears corner, Charles Tillman, Williams was held to just four catches for 15 yards and two touchdowns.
One of those touchdowns was a fluky play that Tillman should have picked off in the end zone.
The ball popped up out of Tillman's grasp and Williams just reached down and grabbed it for a meaningless score.
Slot receiver Brandon Stokley had the most receiving yards with 85 yards on eight catches, including a touchdown. Before the fourth quarter, he had just two catches for 20 yards.